Ana Puškarić Kučinić Puskarich — Part 1(1886 – 1912)

by Patricia J. Angus*

Puškarić Ana
Ana Puškarić Kučinić Puskarich
1886 – 1930

Ana Puškarić was my great-grandmother. I would love to share nostalgic photos and sentimental stories about her life, but I cannot.  The information I know about Ana is limited to public documents, a couple of family photos, and a few fleeting memories shared by her children.  Ana was married twice and essentially raised two separate families on two different continents.  She died at a fairly young age, and all of her children have now passed away.  The combination of these factors makes the search for records erratic and incomplete.  This documented history has been written as a two-part series to reflect the two distinct periods of Ana’s life.  Both parts provide a summary and analysis of the available records at the time of writing, and updates will be provided as additional evidence reveals itself.

ANA’s FAMILY OF ORIGIN

Both of Ana’s parents carried surnames that were deep-rooted in local villages near Ogulin, Croatia which is bordered by the Dinaric Alps and safeguarded by the Klek mountain peak.  In their day this location was considered as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Over the years the area changed hands politically several times and as a result, took on different country affiliations with the changing tides.  After World War I it became known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.  Then after World War II the name changed to Yugoslavia.  Most recently Croatia gained its independence in 1991 and is referred to as the Republic of Croatia — Republika Hrvatska.

Father’s Information1:

Franje Puškarić — Born 19 May 1856 in Sveti Petar, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary to Ivan and Ana Puškarić.  Died 8 Jan 1920, Ogulin, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes

Mother’s Information2:

Janja Blašković — Born 2 Oct 1865 in Sveti Jakob, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary to Anton and Franca Janja Blašković.  Died 24 September 1945, Ogulin, Croatia, Yugoslavia

Franje Puškarić and Janja Blašković were married on 22 November 1885 in Ogulin3 and eventually became parents to seven children.  Ana Puškarić came into the world on December 21, 18864 as the oldest child in her family, and she was named after her paternal grandmother.  The second child died at two years old; but in total, three daughters and three sons grew to adulthood.  Four of these adult children eventually left Ogulin and immigrated to the United States. All those who emigrated initially settled in Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania due to available work at the Carnegie Steel Company and the supportive Croatian community in the vicinity.

Birth Information5 about the Children of Franje Puškarić and Janja Blašković:

  • Ana Puškarić       Born: 21 Dec 1886, Selo Puškarić, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Edo Puškarić       Born: 6 Nov 1888 – Died:  20 Dec 1890, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Marija Puškarić Born: 14 Aug 1891, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Jaga Puškarić      Born: 7 Jul 1893, Sveti Petar, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Edo Puškarić       Born: 15 Aug 1896, Sveti Petar, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Jošo Puškarić      Born: 6 Aug 1898, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Anton Puškarić   Born: 8 June 1901, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary

MARRIAGE TO MIJAT (Michael)

Ana married Mijat Kučinić in Ogulin and soon thereafter came the birth of their first child, Marija Kučinić on 9 July 1904 in Sveti Jakov, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary.  A second daughter, Milka Kučinić, was born on 23 February, 1907 also in Sveti Jakov, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary.  Sometime in the next three years the couple sailed to America where Mijat began working at Carnegie Steel Company in Duquesne.  Documentation has not yet been located to confirm the original immigration of either Ana or her husband Mijat to America.  Neither does there seem to be documentation indicating that the two oldest children traveled with their parents to America during those years.

However, documentation does support that two additional children were born to the couple in Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Their third child was my grandmother, Kate Ana Kučinić, who was born 26 Septemer 1910, and her younger sister Janja Kučinić born 21 October 1911.  Janja was baptized on 29 October 1911 in the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 705 Shaw Avenue in McKeesport, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Her sponsors were Marko Puskaric and Jula Puskaric.

Birth Information about the Children of Mijat Kučinić and Ana Puškarić:

  • Marija Kučinić6    Born: 9 July 1904, Sveti Jakov, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Milka Kučinić7       Born: 23 Febraury 1907, Sveti Jakov, Ogulin, Austria-Hungary
  • Kate  Kučinić8        Born: 26 Septemer 1910, Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Janja Kučinić9       Born: 21 October 1911, Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA

Daughter Katie’s birth certificate, filed in the state of Pennsylvania on 30 September 1910, indicates that the residence of her parents was at 27 Linden Avenue in Duquesne at the time of her birth.   A few months prior to Katie’s birth, the 1910 United States Census10 of April 28 enumerates a “Cutanitz” family living at 27 Linden Avenue with head of household listed as Mike, 30 years old, and Annie 24 years old.  Apparently the census taker was not well versed in the Croatian language and did not give the proper spelling of the surnames.  This is equally the case for the boarders in the household who all have misspelled common Ogulin surnames interpreted as “Salopik” and “Blaskovitz”.  Mike’s occupation is recorded as a steelworker with his immigration year as 1907, and Annie’s immigration year is noted as 1909.  As mentioned previously, evidence has not yet been found to confirm any immigration dates.  No children are listed in the household, indicating perhaps that their oldest daughters remained with family in Ogulin.

Cutanitz (Kučinić)Household living at 27 Linden Avenue in 1910 Source: Footnote #10
Cutanitz (Kučinić)Household living at 27 Linden Avenue in 1910 Source: 10. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MGQ7-MX1 : accessed 17 Dec 2013), Annie Cutanitz in household of Mike Cutanitz, Duquesne Ward 1, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet , family 183, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375306.

MICHAEL’S DEATH

Tragically Ana’s husband only lived to the age of 31.  According to Michael’s death certificate11, the cause of death was pneumonia, stomach and liver problems.  The death certificate lists his parents as “Michael Kucanich” and mother as “Katarina Wuchich” who were still living in Austria-Hungary.  John Kucanich of Duquesne, Pa. is listed as the informant on the death certificate.  At this time John’s relationship to the deceased has not yet been determined; however, according to church records Michael did have a halfbrother named Ivan which in English is John.

Contrary to the parental information on the death certificate, the church records from Ogulin12 identify Mijat’s mother’s maiden name as Stipetić.  Incidentally his mother Kate passed away the following year on 20 November 1913.  She had been a widow for five years since the passing of her husband, Michael Sr., on 24 August 1908.  However, one possible reason for the difference in surnames might be that his mother remarried after her husband’s death and that new surname was used on the death certificate.  This is a subject for future research.

Obituary of Michael Kucanich appearing in the January 12, 1912 issue of the Duquesne Times.  Newspaper courtesy of Mifflin Township Historical Society.
Obituary of Michael Kucanich appearing in the January 12, 1912 issue of the Duquesne Observer. Newspaper courtesy of Mifflin Township Historical Society.

Mijat was born on 5 Sep 1880 in Sveti Jakov, Ogulin, Croatia and died in Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1912.  An obituary was printed in the Duquesne Observer on Friday, January 12, 1912.  No mention is made of the two children living in  Duquesne, but it does mention the two children in the “old country”.  From this and the lack of children listed in the 1910 US Federal Census, we can assume that Ana and Mike’s older two daughters remained in Ogulin with family members while their parents were living in Duquesne.

According to Mike’s death certificate and obituary, he and his family lived at 18 Peach Alley at the time of his untimely death on 5 January 1912.  This documentation appears nearly two years after the 1910 United States Census.  However, it is interesting to note that at the time of the 1910 census, a Puskarich family was living next door to this address at 16 Peach Alley13.  It may be that Mike and Ana moved to Peach Alley to be closer to Puskarich relatives and friends. According to the 1910 Census  Mike and Katie Puskarich lived at 16 Peach Alley with their three-year-old son Martin and five Puskarich boarders: Joe age 22and single, Marco age 19 and single, Joe age 36 married 12 years, Marco age 20 and single, and Marte age 22 married 2 years.  The occupations of all of these men were listed as steelworkers.  More investigation would be necessary to determine a familial relationship between these Puskarich individuals and Anna’s family of origin.

IMMIGRATION OF SIBLINGS & RETURN TO CROATIA

By this time, no doubt, family was something on Ana’s mind.  While she was living her life in Duquesne, both of Ana’s sisters were married in Ogulin in the year 1909.  Jaga married Mijo Vučić 14 February 190914.  Records suggest that Mijo immigrated to the United States of America sometime later in 1909. Marija married farm laborer Jošo Stipetić on 26 September 190915.  Marija stayed behind in Ogulin while her new husband immigrated to Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania on the S.S. Caroline sailing from Havre on November 6 of that same year16.

After being separated from their spouses for several years, both women traveled together to join their husbands during the same cold January of 1912 that sent a shiver of grief in Ana’s life.  The date of the sisters’ voyage to America is strikingly coincidental to the crisis in Ana’s life.  No record exists to verify if this trip had been previously planned or if Marija and Jaga came spontaneously to assist their sister in her time of need, but they did travel together as evidenced by the ship’s manifest below.

Passenger List showing the immigration of sisters Jaga Vučić and Marija Stipetić Jaga Vučić and Marija Stipetić Immigration -- Excerpt from 1912 Passenger List.  Source Citation: Year: 1912; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1800; Line: 21 & 22; Page Number: 137.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010
Passenger List showing the immigration of sisters Jaga Vučić and Marija Stipetić
Jaga Vučić and Marija Stipetić Immigration — Excerpt from 1912 Passenger List. Source Citation: Year: 1912; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1800; Line: 21 & 22; Page Number: 137. Source Information: Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010
These sisters, Jaga Puškarić Vučić and Marija Puškarić Stipetić, sailed on the S.S. Chemnitz from the port of Bremen, Germany on January 13, 1912 and arrived in New York, New York on 27 January 191217.  Their destination was Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania where both of their husbands had been employed for the past two years at the Duquesne Works of the Carnegie Steel Corporation.  The ship manifest indicates that Jaga’s permanent resident had been in Sveti Jakob, and identifies her father-in-law Jošo Vučić of Sveti Jakob as the “nearest relative or friend from whence the alien came”.  Marija’s residence is listed as Lomost with closest relative as her father-in-law Jerko Stipetić.  Jaga and her husband, Mijo Vučić, settled in Duquesne permanently and raised a family there.  Records related to Marija and Jošo Stipetić are not plentiful, and therefore, do not suggest a continued residence in Duquesne, Pennsylvania.

The Puškarić sisters were not the only family members to come to Duquesne in 1912.  Later that year the oldest of the three brothers, Edo Puškarić, also immigrated to the United States at 17 years old.  On November 2, 1912 Edo left Sveti Petar, Ogulin and departed from the port of Havre on the S.S. Chicago to join his sisters in Duquesne, Allegheny, Pennsylvania18.  Ultimately Ed moved to an area near Chicago, Illinois and married Josephine Svoboda on 25 April 192319.  The couple raised their family in the Chicago area.

Sometime during the year after Michael’s death, Ana sailed back to her homeland with her younger daughters Kate and Janja.  The girls joined their older sisters and other Puškarić relatives in the village where Ana was raised.  Out of necessity, Ana left all four of her daughters in her home village to be cared for by their Puškarić grandparents, along with aunts and uncles, until they reached adulthood.  As adults Marija and Kate eventually sailed for America, while Milka and Janja remained in Croatia.

Sources:

  1. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977 and Drzavni Arhiv u Karlovac
  2. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977 and Drzavni Arhiv u Karlovac
  3. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977 and Drzavni Arhiv u Karlovac
  4. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  5. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977 and Drzavni Arhiv u Karlovac
  6. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  7. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  8. Birth Certificate for Kata Kucanic, 26 September 1910, File No. 116172, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.   Certified copy in possession of John A. Salopek.
  9. Certificate of Baptism, Sacred Heart R.C. Church. Copy in possession of author.
  10. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MGQ7-MX1 : accessed 17 Dec 2013), Annie Cutanitz in household of Mike Cutanitz, Duquesne Ward 1, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet , family 183, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375306.
  11. Death Certificate for Michael Kucanich, 5 January 1912, File No. 2203, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.    Certified copy in possession of author.
  12. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  13. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MGQQ-GXC : accessed 18 Dec 2013), Mike Pusckarich, Duquesne Ward 1, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet , family 164, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375306.Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  14. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  15. Church Records of Ogulin, Croatia by correspondence 1977
  16. Jošo Stipetić Immigration — Source Citation: Year: 1909; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1375; Line: 7; Page Number: 190. Source Information: Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  17. Jaga Vučić and Marija Stipetić Immigration — Excerpt from 1912 Passenger List.  Source Citation: Year: 1912; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1800; Line: 21 & 22; Page Number: 137.  Source Information:  Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010
  18. Edo Puskarich Immigration — Source Citation: Year: 1912; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1973; Line: 25; Page Number: 153.  Source Information: Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  19. “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZ3D-PC4 : accessed 17 Dec 2013), Edward Puskarich and Josephine Sroboda, 25 Apr 1923; citing Jefferson, Ohio, United States, reference p 79 no 40168; FHL microfilm 2297275.

* Many thanks to relatives and colleagues who have contributed time, information, and documents for this article.  Special thanks to cousins who have obtained information from the church records in Ogulin and to professional genealogist Lidija Sambunjak for researching in the Karlovac Archives.

© 2013 to present Patricia J. Angus

See Also: Hunting Grandma’s Grave on this site.

5 thoughts on “Ana Puškarić Kučinić Puskarich — Part 1(1886 – 1912)

  1. Hello Patti . . . I hope you had a nice holidays season. I was wondering if you ever went directly on the http://www.ellisisland.org site to look up the Kucinic name . . . I’m sure you already have , but I did look on the site (FREE by the way – you do need to sign up , but it is free) and there is a listing for a Mijat Kucinic and 3 listings for Ana Kucinic. I have got involved in looking up the geneaology for The Cheke Family as well as The Kosko Family and I used http://www.ancestry.com and also the http://www.ellisisland.org site (even though all immigrants to the U.S. did not necessarily enter through Ellis Island). On the Ellis Island site , you can read the original ship manifests which will give you information about the passengers , and there usually are 2 pages to these manifests (which took a while for me to discover) . . . also , on the Ancestry web site , these ship manifests can be viewed and also magnified or you can view it in reverse color (like a negative) to make deciphering easier. On the Ellis Island web site , you can just put in the last name , like Kucinic , and they will give you the whole list they have for that surname (I believe Kucinic has 64 listings). Be warned though , that I have found multiple mistakes on the Ellis Island web site – names spelled incorrectly , wrong dates listed , wrong ages listed – but it still was a great asset in helping me find a lot of information (even though it required much detective work , deciphering of cursive writing , etc.). Any-who , you are much more familiar with genealogy searches than I am , but I did not see the Ellis Island web site listed in your sources (of course I could have missed it – HA ! HA !) and so I thought that I would suggest that you check it out . . . Take Care , Drew Cheke PS ——> My sister Lori had all of her kids home for the holidays , so she was a happy Mother for the holiday season !

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    1. Drew, Thank you so much for the reminder about the Ellis Island site. Once upon a time I spent a lot of late night hours on that site, and what an accomplishment it was at the time they originally digitized that collection! More recently I typically use http://www.ancestry.com for searching immigration records, because the site is a bit easier to navigate. However, since you took the time to read my article and to search the site for my Kucinic ancestors, I took a minute to revisit http://www.ellisisland.org and retrace your steps. There is a listing for Ana Kucinic in 1913 — this is indeed my great-grandmother and sets the stage for part two of her story — which is forthcoming, eventually. Both Ancestry and Ellis Island also show the immigration of her oldest daughter to America, but that is another story to tell. Some of the listings were quite compelling, and I have set them aside for future use, because I think they may lead to other relations and other fascinating stories. I love examining the ship manifests even though they may be hard to read or understand. They are so interesting and lead us to other information about the people and places immigrants left behind and those that they were leaving to join in the New World. Give my best to Lori and her family! Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for your continued support and the suggestion! 🙂

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      1. You are very welcome , and the comment you made concerning reading the ship manifests and how the information written in them reveal “more pieces of the puzzle” is quite exciting and addicting at the same time. The Genealogy Addiction consumed my life for about 3 weeks , and like you , I had spent many nights searching Ship Manifests , Census Reports , Naturalization Records , and Military Registration Cards (especially for WWI) , which all revealed quite a lot about my ancestors. I had to take a break from it for a while , but I will get back to it. I am looking forward to reading Part 2 of your Great Grandmother’s Saga. I will tell Lori and her family you send them your best !

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  2. My grandparents were Joseph Matijasic and Janja Blaskovic. I know little about them other than that they immigrated to the U.S. from Croatia. According to my grandfather’s WW1 draft registration, he was born in 1874 and was living on Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s Southside in 1918. My cousin has a letter from his sister from Ogulin in Croatia. His wife was born about a decade after Joseph. Obviously you page caught my eye. I suspect our grandmother’s were some how related.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I will certainly be on the look out for information about your grandparents and other family members while researching my own family tree. Probably a connection there someplace! Thanks for checking out my site. 🙂

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